Frederick Waymouth Gibbs, a disciplinarian and a teller of tales who reported the defects of his pupil's mind, day by day, to his parents and thus became a barrier, not a bridge, between them.
Without any appeal to his heart, the Prince was unable to learn. He was bored by his books and his essays were not "sober." He liked people more than ideas, but the only people he ever met, except his brothers and sisters, were mature, celebrated, and set in their ways. Somebody complained to Prince Albert of this. He might then have recalled the fêtes at Coburg, the games in the fields and the friendships he had been allowed to enjoy, but some hardness had conquered him. He was able to release his heart at the organ, then go to the nursery or schoolroom and suddenly become cold and censorious. The kind of concession he made to his son's need for companions was proof of this. He decided to invite a few chosen Eton boys to the castle on Sunday afternoons to tea. But he remained in the room with them and no doubt sent them back to Eton with the dismal conviction that they had been improved rather than entertained.
The struggle between the nature of the boy and the critical dominion of his many masters was revealed in an incident a few years later after the opening of the Great Exhibition. The young Prince had been taken to see the wonders of the Crystal Palace and had naturally been pleased by some waxwork models of the murderous Thugs of India. He wrote in his diary of his delight over these exciting exhibits which must have been a welcome novelty amid the acres of organized improvement. The diary was sent to Stockmar, who was shocked. He reminded the boy that he had been
"born in a Christian and enlightened age in which such atrocious acts are not even dreamt of. "4 It is no wonder that Sir Sidney Lee, in his biography, said that
"King Edward looked back with pain on his educational ordeal. "5
THE year 1849 began with Louis Napoleon trying to bring peace and order to France. Queen Victoria was pleased to hear that he was
"full of courage and energy"and behaving
"extremely well, "1 but some of her ladies were indignant because he dared call himself His Majesty, thus
"bringing contempt on the name."2 The Pope was still a fugitive